Unhappy way to end: Royals fall in finale

HAGERSTOWN — The regular season didn’t end the way the Eastern Hancock Royals wished, as they lost their season finale to the Hagerstown Tigers 61-52 on Friday night, dropping their record to 12-10.

In a visiting gym hyped up for senior night festivities, the Royals quickly found themselves in a 15-4 hole, which proved to be too much to overcome.

“I really thought the difference in the game was the first quarter,” Royals coach Aaron Spaulding said afterward. “We settled for the jump shot too often and that led to some easy baskets for Hagerstown.”

Indeed, on the Royals first three possessions, they attempted four 3-pointers, all of which missed. They went on to attempt four more 3-pointers before making one, as Addison True buried a shot in a defender’s face with two seconds remaining in the quarter.

Despite the team’s early offensive struggles, True would finish with 21 points and nine rebounds.

That basket seemed to inject some life into the Royals, who rallied back to tie the game at 23-all before giving up the last six points of the quarter. They would tie it again in the third quarter at 29-all and stay as close as four points before the Tigers opened up an 8-point lead to end the quarter, holding that lead for the remainder of the game.

“Hagerstown has a good team this year, but when we started attacking better is when we had success,” Spaulding said. “But, in the second half alone they had seven offensive rebounds which is like giving them seven extra possessions.”

The Royals ended the regular season on a three-game losing streak, but with sectional action set to begin next week, the Royals have no choice but to look ahead said Spaulding.

“We’ve played some really challenging teams this year overall and specifically at the end of the season, and I think that’s really going to help us get ready for Tuesday,” he remarked.

The Royals will tip off in Class 2A Sectional 42 at 6 p.m. against Irvington Prep. The sectional is hosted by Triton Central.